Resource Use

Remakery bringing reuse superstore to Edinburgh

Remakery bringing reuse superstore to Edinburgh
A new reuse and repair superstore in Edinburgh, launched today (20 May) by social enterprise Remade, aims to reinvent second hand items and teaching repair skills.

The grand opening of ‘The Remakery’ will take place tomorrow at the new store on Leith Walk, which is an expansion of Remade’s successful ‘community hub’ on Guthrie Street and will allow the organisation to reach a wider audience.

The Remakery, created by Remade with support from Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) and the City of Edinburgh Council, is part of the ZWS drive to ‘transform the scale and impact of reuse shopping in Scotland’.

According to ZWS, 304,000 three-seater sofas and 151,000 washing machines end up in Scottish landfills every year. It hopes that increasing the reuse and repair of such items will prevent them going to landfill which will in turn benefit the environment, create jobs and reduce resource use.

The Remakery

Remade was originally established with an aim to create a reuse and repair centre in Edinburgh.  Its Guthrie Street site is used to educate the public on furniture, computer and textile repair skills and sell refurbished computers.

When opened, The Remakery will become the second reuse hub in Scotland, following the launch of the first such hub in the Highlands by Blythswood Care, also backed by ZWS, in 2015. ZWS will be providing a year’s funding to the venture, based on a business plan that expects the shop to be viable after a year’s trading.

The reuse hub will allow customers to:

  • bring in their own textiles, computers, mobile phones and furniture and learn how to fix them;
  • buy refurbished computers;
  • book one-to-one sessions with a dedicated computer repair specialist who will help customers to repair their IT instead of ditching it;
  • buy re-used furniture;
  • donate second-hand IT, furniture and textiles; and
  • rent affordable workspace and tools.

Many project partners have been involved in establishing The Remakery including Community Help & Advice Initiative (CHAI), a Wester Hailes homelessness charity, who provided furniture for the store. The University of Edinburgh has also provided IT equipment and student placements.

Displays from the Edinburgh Tool Library, which operates a tool rental service, and Upcycled World, which runs upcycling workshops for the public, will be present at the opening event. Food at the opening event will be provided by the Real Junk Food Project, who run a network of ‘pay as you feel cafes’.

Attendees on the day will be able to take a tour of the premises, which includes two workshop spaces for textiles, computers and furniture. Second hand and upcycled furniture will be available to buy and visitors can even take part in free taster sessions of leatherwork, upholstery and computer repair workshops.

Making Things Last

The establishment of two reuse hubs in Scotland is in line with reuse objectives set out in the Scottish Governments first circular economy strategy ‘Making things last: A circular economy strategy for Scotland’.

The report states that the government would like to make used items a ‘good value, mainstream option’, encourage reuse businesses and organisations and improve the countries capture of items for reuse although it stopped short of setting a target. 

Spain has also recently published a new waste plan and in doing so became the first EU country to set a legally binding reuse target of 50 per cent. Flanders in Belgium and France have similar targets in place with French legislation only relating to specific waste steams.

Championing idea of a circular economy

Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham said: “The Scottish Government wants repair and the sale and use of second hand goods to be seen as an attractive, mainstream, good value option for an increasing range of goods. I am pleased that we are supporting the Remakery as an early action to deliver on that ambition from our recent ‘Making Things Last’ strategy. I congratulate Remade on the opening of the Edinburgh Remakery and wish them every success.”

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, commented: “I’m excited about the launch of The Edinburgh Remakery which is at the forefront of a reuse and repair revolution in the city and Zero Waste Scotland is pleased to be able to support it. It will give local people a great new place to learn some vital skills or pick up a second-hand gem. 

“The hub’s programme is all about increasing the scale and the profile of reuse for shoppers, and of repair skills generally when items break or need an update. We can keep the value of these items in local economies, creating local jobs and training opportunities, and prevent usable items from needlessly ending up in landfill.

“Edinburgh, and Scotland more widely, is an exciting place to be at the moment in terms of the momentum building around reuse retail and spreading repair skills – part of the Scottish Government’s plan to build a more resilient, circular economy.”

Sophie Unwin, Director, The Edinburgh Remakery, said: “We’re all very excited about the increased impact we can have now thanks to Scottish Government support.  This year alone, we’re looking to more than double the waste we divert to landfill from 90 to 240 tonnes and create an additional four jobs.”

Dave Gorman, Director of Social Responsibility and Sustainability at the University of Edinburgh, said: "We live in a world with finite resources, and one of the most impactful ways we can protect those resources is to reuse and repair the things we already have. The Remakery champions the idea of a circular economy, which is about transitioning from a ‘take-make-dispose’ linear approach to resource use, to systems that encourage reuse and extraction of maximum value before returning resources to the biosphere.”

More information about the Edinburgh Remakery can be found on Remade’s website.